We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Varuna?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Varuna is one of the mightiest of the gods in early Hinduism, later becoming a god of water. He was viewed as having dominion over the ocean of the gods, ruling the sky, bringing the rains, overseeing the underworld, and laying down the universal law.

Varuna is seen as the most omniscient of the early Hindu gods, and is often looked at as being omnipotent as well. His role was to make sure order was kept throughout the universe. He was looked at as the sacred keeper of the force of rta, which is the force that keeps the universe exactly as it should be. It was Varuna who made sure the sun made its way across the sky, separating day and night, and who kept the earth fixed.

Varuna is usually depicted as a tall white man, wearing a shining suit of golden armor. He made his way on his mount, Makana or Makara, a strange sea monster. Makara was sometimes seen as being a sort of crocodile-dolphin mix, or occasionally as a huge fish with the head of an elephant. He often carried around a noose formed of a snake, and was known as the cosmic hangman in his more vengeful role.

Varuna ensured that the laws were always kept. Not only the laws of nature, which he presided over, but also the laws and oaths of man. When a man broke an oath, it was Varuna who punished him. He was depicted as all-knowing, and the nearly infinite stars were said to be his eyes, watching everything that happened on earth and in the minds of men. He was also associated with the underworld, and along with Yama he shepherded people there and oversaw them in the afterlife, and could choose to give them the gift of immortality if he wished it.

Varuna also was charged with overlooking the celestial ocean of the gods. It was from this ocean that all rain came to earth, and so he was responsible for the rains that nourished the crops and made life possible. In the later Hindu traditions this role gradually became more and more important for Varuna, as his omniscience and omnipotence was overshadowed by the gods of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva.

One of the most famous myths involving Varuna comes from the Ramayana. In it, an avatar of the great god Vishnu, Rama, wishes to cross the mighty ocean of Lanka. He prays and offers up sacrifice to Varuna, beseeching him to assist him. When Varuna does not reply, Rama begins to attack the waters of the ocean itself, killing the creatures within and setting fire to the water. Varuna eventually appears, as Rama is on the verge of using a weapon capable of destroying all creation, and apologizes to Rama. He stills the waters, which allows a bridge to be built across the ocean. The tale demonstrates Rama’s righteousness, and also acts as a parable to say that violence may be justified after the proper holy acts have been taken and have received no response from the gods.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon153472 — On Feb 17, 2011

thank you for the information.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.